Opinion: A different way of explaining micronationalism to others

I think we’ve all had an issue at one point or another, explaining micronationalism to those who don’t belong to the community, let alone who’ve never heard of it before. In many instances the concept is compared to roleplay and make-believe.

You can try explaining in many ways, including statements such as, “We have the right to claim independence”, or “America did it from Great Britain, so we can too.” and so on and so forth, however those statements typically leave you with eye brow raising individuals, or self-declared scholars, giving references to international laws, the United Nations, recognition requirements, etc.

I have a close friend who just couldn’t wrap his head around the idea of micronationalism. I would send our news, images, events, and other things to him, mainly due to the fact that he was a citizen and joined out of respect to our friendship. The issue with that was the fact that he joined something he didn’t understand, something I feel many micronational citizens do.

What started as a simple conversation ended in debate and frustration towards one another. I’d explain how micronationalism was more of a political statement than an ideology, but he’d find ways to pick apart my rebuttals. After explaining micronations having a purpose and reason for existing, he began to come around, using references to better understand the whole picture of this unique community.

“Ah, so in concept, it is kinda like the Masonic lodge, which had its own membership protocols and rites and rituals and oaths… and a particular ideology among its members who each had their own role to play in the transformation of the world, according to the communal will of its members?” my friend asked. I had honestly never thought of this comparison before, but after thinking it over, it was accurate to me.

“Just taking the playbook from macro-nations” I replied. “So in essence, the Masonic lodge was a first micronation. Of course they couldn’t call themselves any kind of nation, for fear of the kings.” my friend stated. His understanding began to take shape more and more as the conversation went on.

I was pretty glad to finally hear an explanation that could finally not be argued, as far as I was concerned. Micronationalism is such a unique part of life, that it can be difficult to explain it to those who’ve never fully experienced it. Its concept isn’t explained on the news, in schools, or any other area for that matter. In order to understand, you have to WANT to understand it.

“The opinions I at first expressed about micronations being perceived by the public as roleplaying games could actually be quite useful from a secretive revolutionary standpoint, I suppose.” my friend stated. “Forming alliances with like-minded micronations could be equivalent to the different lodges associated with the Masonic grand lodge, I’d suppose. Of course this association with historical Freemasonry would only apply if there were a shared revolutionary goal as was historically true of the Freemasons. The analogy does help me to comprehend this otherwise quite nebulous subject.” he ended.

Not everyone may agree with this approach, or this view on explaining micronationalism, but in my case it certainly helped ease the understanding and void out the previous mockery and laughing I had received. I’m sure there are even better ways of explaining it, however given the fact that this community has a hard time being received in a positive or serious light, there can never be too many ways of explaining who we are and what we are doing.

Opinion: Will new sanctions negatively affect Russia?

Since Thursday, President Biden, along with several other leaders of NATO and UN nations have announced sanctions against the Russian Federation for their invasion into Ukraine. Many are unsure of what these ‘sanctions’ are and how they would affect Russia as a whole.

The objectives of sanctions are varied but generally fall into one of two categories: sanctions that aim at specific changes in behavior and sanctions that seek to impose costs without being linked to a specific policy outcome.

The US for instance has imposed more than 60 rounds of sanctions on Russian individuals, companies, and government organizations over the last six years, spanning nine issue areas. Most of these sanctions have distinct aims when viewed individually. Sanctions against Russia aimed at Ukraine are intended to deter further Russian aggression and persuade Russia to adhere to the Minsk peace accord. Russian individuals and corporations are also sanctioned by the US for failing to comply with North Korean sanctions, intervening in US elections, and hacking US entities. These sanctions impose financial penalties in order to deter future aggressive behavior and maintain international norms.

Many have pointed out that sanctions are not a cost-free tool. Their overuse from a larger strategy carries risks. First, there is the risk that sanctions against Russian oligarchs and companies will make them more dependent on the Kremlin, thus consolidating rather than diminishing support for Putin.

But are sanctions working? The answer is contingent on how we define “working.” Some say that the tough sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine limited Russia’s land grab. Because the counterfactual is likewise probable, this is impossible to prove or deny. Regardless, sanctions aimed at Russia have so far failed to persuade it to follow the Minsk agreements, as Russian troops continue in eastern Ukraine.

Sanctions against Russian individuals and companies for failing to comply with other sanction regimes, such as those imposed on North Korea, have succeeded in limiting access to the global financial system. Secondary sanctions imposed by CAATSA have undoubtedly made doing business with sanctioned Russian businesses more difficult. However, there is no evidence that these have resulted in a shift in Russian government policy.

If Moscow comes to believe that sanctions will be permanent and unavoidable, it will be less motivated to find a way to end the current standoff. When sanctions give leverage, they are most effective. Overuse of sanctions, particularly those that are mandated by Congress (and thus require congressional approval to lift) and are not linked to specific policy goals, generates little leverage and reinforces Russian perceptions that the ultimate goal of US policy is regime change rather than behavioral change.

Because Russia believes that US strategy is only focused on retribution and containment, a diplomatic solution to difficulties between the two countries is less possible.

Opinion: The importance of maintaining micronationalism privacy

Privacy on the internet is an upward battle when it comes to maintaining private information, such as credit cards, banking info, addresses, and email addresses.

Unfortunately the battle has become more difficult with the growing number of hackers and data sellers throughout the world. Privacy in micronationalism is even more important, as documents and citizen information are the most maintained.

In this article we‘ll cover the top 3 areas of concern, along with ways to properly secure private information.

Citizenship Information

The protection of personal information of applicants and current citizens of micronations should be set as the highest priority within governments.

Full names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, and other private information should be kept in secure locations, but most importantly on secure form databases.

Google forms, Zoho forms, and jotforms are 3 of the top secure online forms in my experience.

Micronations should never share a citizen or applicant’s personal information with other micronations, even for “intel” or “investigation” reasons. Doing so may put you at risk for a lawsuit and possible macro criminal charges. Ensure you ask the party first before sending their information to others.

Email Address Revealing

Emailing other micronations is certainly necessary when the need for contact arises. There have been several instances where I’ve witnessed over 300 emails in a mass email list, which included mine as well.

Senders should be mindful of who they’re showing other email addresses to. If you’re going to send a mass email, it’s best to BCC all emails, to hide them from others.

On the subject of emails, if you decide to include emails in a campaign list to mass email, ensure you ask first if they consent. Having a sign up form on your website helps a great deal.

Data Leak Notifications

In the unfortunate event of a data leak, it is your responsibility to inform those affected that they were involved in such leak.

If you intentionally fail to inform parties of their leaked data, you’re setting yourself up for a lawsuit. Many macronations have laws requiring you to inform parties anyway.

Ensure you keep track of not only your databases but the companies that maintain that information for you.

Summary

Running a micronation can be fun and rewarding, but it does have its responsibilities. Meeting these requirements will ensure a smooth operation, along the lines of liability and privacy protection.

Opinion: Micronational income vs. businesses masked as micronations

Micronations making money is a common practice within the micronational community, with a majority understanding that websites must stay online. Other items, such as physical awards and decorations must be purchased, along with highly demanded gift shop items, such as flags, pins, and passport folders.

What is not so common is the selling of citizenship access, entry into militaries, and the public bragging of how much a micronation possesses in money, gold, silver, and other items of value. The question many ask is, “where is the line in the sand that separates a micronation making money from a business pretending to be a micronation?”

Dunland on Twitter recently wrote, “It’s bothersome, in all honesty. I’m sure nobody minds ‘homegrown’ or ‘mom and pop’ money-making by micronations, e.g., selling mementos that pay for a website or whatnot. However, I take issue with businesses or individuals fronting as micronations in order to monetize and cash in.”

I personally feel that if a ‘micronation’ has no intentions of creating a culture, has no set purpose (other than to make money), and no governmental structure, that it is therefore a business and not a micronation.

The whole purpose for most micronationalists creating their nations is to create a culture, set up a government, provide entertainment or tasks for their citizens, create new friendships, and to provide a unique experience for their citizens. If your goal isn’t to provide any of that and just to focus on the money, it makes it difficult to be seen as a micronation.

The Cheskgariyan-Litvanian Commonwealth on Twitter joined in the discussion, stating, “We’ve seen a few and while they’re not a big problem, they seem to misunderstand micronationalism as a monetizable hobby, rather than something to devote oneself more seriously to. I personally think they might give people the wrong impression of what a micronation is all about.”

Other individuals, such as Ethan of the Republic of Sohnland, go as far as feeling like corporations are high jacking micronationalism, as a means of pandering to a demographic they can rip off and sell to.

I created a video in May of 2021, welcoming newcomers into the community. One of the parts in my video talked about this very issue. I certainly hope that the new additions into our community understand why micronations were formed in the first place, and that while it’s important to make money; they should avoid making theirs into a money-making scheme.

Opinion: Has Parliament finally reached its full potential?

Struggles appear to be an issue of the past in Dracul’s National Parliament; something most micronational parliaments report and display publicly all the time, with pleas of more members, votes of no confidence, and resignations.

The issue of “yes men” as they’re called, where individuals neglect to review a bill, then vote yes to say they’ve done a job was a common practice among several former parliamentary members, which caused great distress and concern.

Dracul’s Parliament now consists of the most active and dedicated number of Parliamentary members Dracul has ever witnessed. Not only is every region represented, but all members have engaged in actual debate, summary introduction of their bills, and taken action as necessary. Now, there are rare occasions of members missing session; an issue that used to be annoyingly repetitive.

Senator Scott Jeanes of Breco Territory has mentioned several times of his displeasure in seeing a disorganized and short staffed Parliament. President Luke when asked stated he never felt this day would come, but was glad to be proven wrong.

“From 2018 to this last month, things have always gone wrong in the Parliament.” said President Luke. “Former members would never look at bills and just randomly vote, members would never show up, several members never introduced bills, and debate was rarely heard of.”

“I’d say last night’s senate session went quite well. Probably the best session we’ve ever had, believe me. It was also quite successful for the Blue Party, as the results of Bill 39 and 40 went the way we pushed for.” said Senator Karl Frederick. “We got the new immigration requirements to pass and the attempted infringement on religious freedom to fail. Was truly great.”

With things appearing to go in the right direction, the checks and balances in Dracul now seem to have a chance at success. Parliament elections in each state are expected to take place this month on February 7th, with ballots going out to all registered voters.

Opinion: Ukraine conflict and how it could affect nearby micronations

Many are aware of the ongoing tensions between the Russian Federation and Ukraine Republic. Unfortunately, the situation has been further escalated over the past week, with nations such as the United States and United Kingdom, rallying preparedness for their possible deployment.

There are several micronations within the vicinity of the Ukrainian-Russian border, which raises the question, “How could this affect micronations?” After further research, we comprised the following possibilities based on the current and possible situation:

Violence/Destruction

When it comes to macronational countries and militaries, everyone knows they will “steamroll” over micronations, including their militaries and borders. The effects of war, such as the violence, destruction from weapons, and mandatory evacuations are enough to disrupt nearby micronations alone. Those within the region should prepare themselves for relocation, especially for government officials, so operations can continue.

“Don’t take this lightly.” said Dracul President Stephen Luke. “The Russian Army and opposing forces will not hesitate if you’re standing in their way. Devising a plan for evacuation or to shelter in place is your best course of action as of now.”

Lack of utilities and supplies

Even for micronations that aren’t directly in the way of a war, most are aware of the ongoing European energy crisis, which receives most of its supply from Russia itself. In the event of war, Russia could utilize their ability to “shut off the gas”, in an effort to weaken their opponent. If you’re within the European continent, it’s best to prepare for the loss of power, petrol, and possibly food, since companies without power won’t be able to supply local stores.

Communications is another larger issue, as affected micronations may not be able to communicate with the rest of the community. Once cell towers are intercepted or destroyed, communications could take months to finally restore.

Loss of borders and sovereignty

One of the worst events that could unfold is Russia taking over land claims and enforcing Russian law, especially if they are victorious or currently hold the high ground within your area. Micronations in the region should also prepare themselves for those changes that could affect them directly. Armies have been known to push further into continents, away from the original location, so being away from the initial action isn’t always a saving grace.

A Russian military force seeing an unidentified flag flying above a residence could become a potential target for harassment and investigation. Micronational militaries cannot hold off from an attack for long, from a Russian army for instance. If you’re flying a micronational flag, it’s probably best to remove it in the event of war encroaching on your doorstep.

Conclusion

Being prepared for an incident to take place, which ultimately never arrives is better than being unprepared, as anyone would agree to. Negotiations continue in an effort to avoid any conflict. Unfortunately this isn’t the first time conflict as unfolded in Europe, so the stakes are high as of now.

Opinion: Micronational relations and when to establish them

I’m sure there are many micronations that’ve established relations with others, only to end up never speaking with them or benefiting from the formal recognition. How exactly did we get here is typically the question that’s asked once it’s noticed.

For many micronations, the desire to be recognized is a priority. It doesn’t matter if it’s a large or small, well known or just established micronation. The fact that someone tells another we recognize your existence has much power to it, because it gives the recognized nation a feeling of belonging and feeling less isolated.

While I can certainly understand the sentiment behind that philosophy, the fact remains that most relations in micronationalism are flat out pointless. It seems in most cases that micronations gain nothing from their recognition. In order to gain something, both need to have something to give, which can really include anything.

Every micronation has made this mistake at one point or another and Dracul is no exception. I spoke with our State Secretary earlier today, in which we spoke about this very topic. About 95% of our allies are never heard from, nor do we trade with them. At this point it’d be more beneficial to cut our ties than to have a long list of names that do nothing but sit on paper every year.

To get the full effect and enjoyment out of a newly created recognition, make sure you have something that can benefit each other. In addition, you’ll want to make sure you stay in contact often, to avoid growing distant from your new ally. If you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to gain the most.

Some may not care about the failures of these talking points; that’s fine with me, every micronation should operate how it wants to. But for those who wish to be successful not only with their nation but their relations, these are some pretty valid points in my opinion.

Opinion: Micronations vs. Cults, and how they exist together

The subject is not discussed much among the community, however on an individual level it seems to be a growing topic, especially as the number of micronations grow every year. That topic is the difference between micronations and cults. While in general, most know the common difference between the two, but it can be difficult to decipher in the micronational realm.

Many already know the definition of a micronation; a self-declared nation, not formally recognized by the macronations that surround them. While the term ‘cult’ can vary in each situation, it normally has a negative connotation, defining a group of followers with a leader that most of the outside community doesn’t recognize nor approve of. One might now ask the question, “What is the difference, how are the two in existence together, and how is it an issue?”

Micronations exist, or should exist, for their governments and citizens to work together towards a common goal. There is typically a type of culture, patriotism/pride, uniqueness, and success goal. While all micronations may not have all of the above, they have a majority, or are in the process of working towards the others. So how do you know if a micronation is really a cult in disguise? Knowing the telltale signs to look for can easily discover them.

Cults that operate under the term ‘micronation’ typically lack professionalism, culture, uniqueness, and true long term goals. In addition, the cult typically puts as their primary focus the goal of money or physical resources. Of course micronations need to make money to continue operations for things such as websites and items for purchase, however cults normally only care about the money and not their citizens. In many cases the cult will tell their citizens, members, or followers that the only way to be respected and distinguished in their community is to pay so much money each month, to climb a hierarchy system.

In a nutshell, if the micronation doesn’t seem to care about the success of their citizens, the creation of a unique culture, and the progress of their nation within the community, there’s a good chance that micronation is in reality a ‘cult’. If citizens can’t gain anything, they tend to feel more like a servant than an actual citizen. When speaking with other micronationalists about the subject, most agreed that should someone feel they are not benefitting from the micronation on a personal level, that their best bet is to find a micronation that will support them.

While having a cult is not illegal in most cases, some may deem it to be a scam or more of a business than an actual micronation. If one should want to focus only on profits, they should classify themselves as a business, rather than a government and community for everyone.

Opinion: 4 Years of Dracul, What’s next?

Since Dracul’s inception back in 2017, the country has seen its fair share of ups and downs. From Martial Law to Parliamentary restructuring and even exterior conflict, the nation has not been shy with activity.

I joined Dracul in Early August 2020 seeking a nation to plant my roots, somewhere to base my understanding of the micronational community and the people in it. Dracul has provided so much more than that, a place to learn, share, laugh and overall, just a great community of interesting and good people.

Dracul is interesting in the fact that things occur either quite fast or very slow. for example, When Bran District as first created and received its first Mayor, nothing much really happened. for around 2-3 Months nothing happened, but then the council started having weekly meetings and passing bills quite fast.

Another example, Parliament was rather unorganised until recently when they decided to move to discord and create their own rules of procedures.

I feel that yes, there is still some inactivity in the country, but when the Luke-Modena Administration takes over, Dracul will become an even brighter star than it is right now.

The Luke presidency will bring a much needed change in leader in my opinion. The main goals that the Luke Administration is planning doing is increasing citizen activity, removing useless jobs and other much needed changes.

4 Years Later: How Dracul Excelled Quickly

Since it’s inception on September 25, 2017, Dracul is one of the fastest growing and professional micronations within the community, not only in regards to citizenships, but positive relations with the more popular and successful micronations.

Within just a few months of Dracul’s existence, micronations such as Flandrensis and Westarctica put Dracul on their radars, citing the professionalism and structure of Dracul, according to both leaders. To this day, relations hold strong with the two, which later included others such as Aigues-Mortes, Saint-Castin, and West Who. In February of 2021, Molossia accepted Vice President Luke’s invitation to the first MicroWorkshop, which was held on Zoom.

As we approach Dracul’s 4 year anniversary, many wonder how Dracul remained functional and successful. Most micronations do not have a lengthy success, with most dying out within six months to one year. The answer however is not that complicated as we found out through interviews with several officials.

“After we launched Dracul in 2017, we first noticed the well distinguished micronations and how professional they were.” said President Howie. “We noticed others, many ran by younger ages, which were a lot less serious and dedicated. We wanted to aim higher than most, which is exactly what we did.” he added. It’s no surprise that there are well over 2,000 micronations around the world and all have different missions, seriousness, and outcomes.

“Dracul got where we are today by being as serious as any dedicated founding father should be.” said Vice President Stephen Luke. We avoided formal discussions with others over social media, we established a proper constitution, rules and regulations were always followed, we were respectful to others in our communications, we bought a website and kept it updated, and we avoided childish behavior.” he added.

Certainly, just like any other micronation or officially recognized nation, Dracul has seen it’s fair share of internal conflict, which in most circumstances were resolved quickly and properly. “I think micronations need to approach their real conflicts with tact and seriousness.” said South Dracul Lt. Governor Cooper. “When I first arrived in Dracul, I wasn’t as serious as I should have been, but over time I realized I needed to adjust to the rhythm of the nation.”

“Any micronation can climb to the top.” said Vice President Luke. “The question is whether they want to or not.” he ended. Most micronations want to be popular, but lack the dedication that comes with running a country, according to many well distinguished micronations. Dedication and seriousness seem to be what helps a micronation quickly climb to the top.

While gaining income for your micronation is completely understandable, some micronations seem to operate as a title collecting or business service, only focused on the amount of sales and products they have to sell. This typically causes a loss of interest in them in many eyes, due to the fact that nothing else appears important to them. “We certainly hope to see a more successful world of micronations in the future.” said Vice President Luke. “I never wish for any micronation to fail; on the contrary I pray for their success.” He ended.